For those who struggle with anger or reactivity, here are 2 strategies that help. It’s super simple. There is more to emotional mastery, but this is a great start.
1. Identify your emotions, especially when you’re feeling angry, sad, upset, worried, or other challenging emotions. Take a productive pause, take a breath, and name your emotion(s). Do this regularly, as a practice, even if things are going well.
Find the specific word(s) to describe how you are feeling. This helps out in 2 big ways. First, you gain a more precise awareness of your current emotional state. With awareness comes the ability to manage. And next, on a biological level, you activate your prefrontal cortex more, while reducing activity in the amygdala…resulting in an increase ability to process emotions and less emotional reactivity.
2. After you have paused and identified your emotion, ask yourself “What can I learn from this?” Be curious about what is going on for you. It’s like asking “What are my emotions trying to tell me…really?”
Your feelings are meant to be felt. Listen to them and you will learn a bunch. Ignore them and well…you might be destined to do groundhog day again and again.
The two strategies above train your nervous system to respond to, evaluate, and learn from your emotions rather than simply reacting to them. 😃